Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Competitive performance - Beat the odds


In the last post, I stressed upon the need to get rid of the word 'recession' from our minds in order to beat the slowdown blues. The best way to do that is to focus on remaining competitive and keep improving on that front. By being competitive a business can beat the odds and garner more of the available market. 'If I am doing better than the next best that would suffice me to make the most of the market', is the thinking that generally trips corporates. It is important for a business / company to keep increasing the distance between itself and the next best. Falling markets often present brilliant opportunities to increase one's market share and gain entry into new markets.

A company can become competitive in the short run but attaining long term competitiveness requires it to remain focused at all times and keep bettering its own performance.

Comparisons help a person to reach a certain level but only benchmarking against the self on a continuous basis will take the person to greater heights.

It is applicable to businesses also. Competitive edge can get blunted if the focus is just to beat the competitor. It is important for companies to keep sharpening the competitive edge once they beat the competitors.

Competitive performance

A business may do well on operational parameters and yet struggle to grow because its competitors can easily emulate them on the operational front. It has to achieve ‘operational excellence’ (competitive performance level) to stay on top of competition and to keep improving. Any company that successfully taps its knowledge assets and embed innovation in its business processes will be in a position to transcend competitive performance level. Giving support to these two elements of competitive performance level is 'progressive work culture'. It may sound obvious yet many companies fail to blend these three core elements of competitive performance to achieve operational excellence.

Knowledge

For long knowledge was/is treated as a supply side issue where acquisition of knowledge is taken as knowledge used in the business. But rarely this holds good. The thing that differentiates an individual from other at work place is the possession of knowledge. Exposure to work, challenges faced, problems attended and solved, specific incidents etc. enriches the knowledge of an individual. By sharing the knowledge with others the individual is running the risk of blunting his own edge in the organisation. But then no company that is aspiring to grow, can afford to let the knowledge assets go untapped. It is where a comprehensive knowledge management system helps a company to tap its knowledge assets and keep sharpening its competitive edge.

Innovation

Innovation is an act of starting something for the first time; introducing something new. By innovating we bring something new to the environment. In business, innovation is often associated with new products and services. However it can also be associated with new processes, practices, methods etc. that improve core operational parameters viz., cost, quality and time. To innovate one needs to think and think differently. It’s a combination of attitude & knowledge that breeds innovation. Innovation happens when the environment is conducive.

Progressive work culture

Management systems and business processes will be of little help if the work culture is not conducive for performance and growth. For a work culture to be progressive, performance oriented and adaptable there must be a strong trust between the employer and employees and a there should be a shared vision. The promise of performance and the promise of recognition must match and people must be able to see the larger picture, how they are connected and how they impact it. The role of management is paramount in ensuring progressive work culture. Management must take the lead and set examples. If there is commitment and clear vision from the management it won't take long to set the work culture on the right path with the help of management systems.

2 comments:

baskar said...

I have an issue with this blog.

Does the language be business-like with lots of technical words? They can easily be replaced by common words in usage. It is quite a strain to read this...

Regards,

N.Balajhi said...

I will surely make the effort to keep the jargon down. Jargon is an hindrance for effective communication.

Business writing is like any other technical writing. Certain sentence formations are required to express a larger picture in a compressed form. The following sentence is one such example.

"Any company that successfully taps its knowledge assets and embed innovation in its business processes will be in a position to transcend competitive performance level"

This certainly requires some degree of visualisation to understand it. Here I am talking about making innovation a part of the business process by making necessary changes to the decision making points in the process and facilitating a work culture where raising questions or challenging results is well received. This when combined with the implementation of a knowledge management system that nurtures and facilitates knowledge sharing will help a company to successfully achieve competitive performance levels.

Either you convey your ideas in short form using certain words or explain it in a verbose manner. Both doesn't help communication much but at least in the first case you make the reader think about it which helps when it comes to action.

I definitely take your point and ensure that there is less jargon and more meaning in what I write.

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